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November 4, 2005, 6:43 pm

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Cheka Man

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An impressive citadel in the Askharnn mountains. Their prohibitive laws on travel during the Winter months can be a problem for pilgrims and wanderers.

Lazhkmazhon nestles like a bird between the jutting peaks of Caos and Zhua, except its thousand feathers are stone and its towers too angular to be natural. It is set amid a web of butresses which hold the citadel back from cascading brick by brick down the steep mountainside. Even in Summer, this terrain is perilous and hard to navigate for all but the most agile of chamois.

But in Winter, when the teeth of the wind gnaw at the butresses like rats on rope, bearing snow like an incurable disease, it becomes totally impassable. The screes are layered with sheets of ice and the world becomes an unending night of arctic fury. It is not until the Spring, when the snow rots in its clefts and the last rockfalls clatter their way to the ground, that it becomes safe to travel there again.

The Law of Lazhkmazhon forbids anyone to walk in the mountains during this time, for it is the duty of Law to protect Life at all costs.

Hence the custom of the Eternal Night.

A Curfew is sounded on the morning of the fifteenth day after the first frost.

While the horn is blown, the gates of the city are pulled shut, with a clang that is said to shatter the ice on the surface of the Amethyst Lake.

The Eternal Night lasts four months, during which no-one is allowed to leave the city of Lazhkmazhon, save the Khosthasorne on their flying beasts, that they might search for law-breakers wandering in the mountains, so they may be brought back into the citadel for the remainder of the Night.

The Psychology of the Night

Many different people can be found in the Citadel during the Night - not only its permanent citizens, but also pilgrims, merchants and nobles who were found travelling in the Askharnn range after the sounding of the Curfew. Thus the city becomes a melting pot of emotions: tension between locals, who believe the wanderers are foolish and would do best to remain in the city, and wanderers who are resentful at being confined within the walls of Lazhkmazhon; conflict between the temporary residents because they are from different cultures; a strange ambivalence of feeling for those who were saved by the Khosthasorne in the mountains but are now not the be released from the city.

As such it can be a very claustrophobic place, and many people do things they later regret: they indulge in brief liaisons, harsh words, even assault, suicide or attempted murder. It is certainly not a stable place to stay, and is kept in strict check by the city guard.

The Monastery

There is a place, an accessible plateau high above Lazhkmazhon, where many people go for quiet and reflection. Even at the height of the Night there are days of sunshine, when the dazzling light reflects off the frozen mountainland around and refracts rainbowlike through the sheets of ice. This plateau, which people call the Monastery, is an ideal place to watch this beautiful side of the Night, and an excellent location for the courageous to brave the storms and watch aurorae.

The Khosthasorne

Rangers of the sky, the Khosthasorne scout the mountains throughout the year from the backs of their trained gryphons. Clad in leather for warmth, these beasts can remain airborne in all but the worst arctic storms. The Khosthasorne of Lazhkmazhon have particularly terrifying facemasks with which they equip their gryphons.

They are good men, who value life above all else and have a deep respect for the devastating side of Nature. However, they have no patience with those who would risk their lives in blizzards or squalls, and rescue stranded travellers only to leave them safely contained in Lazhkmazhon.

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Comments ( 11 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted Cheka Man
November 4, 2005, 21:11
I really like this, and it would be a great place to RP in *cues "Great Escape" Theme tune.
Voted MoonHunter
November 5, 2005, 11:51
A classic entry. :moon: :moon: two paws up
Voted manfred
November 7, 2005, 5:56
Very good, I can certainly imagine the place.

But there is a question: why is the city there? In the unaccessible, hardly passable terrain. How do they raise enough food to survive? If it is all imported (and likely has to be), it needs something else for exchange. There are pilgrims and merchants noted, so I guess there is a reason for the city to exist. Either it is a caravan route, or there is some important resource... or a holy site of a major religion?
Voted Murometz
May 14, 2006, 22:48
Only voted
Voted Priv8eye
May 16, 2006, 6:44
I like this and can see myself using it with a few minor adaptions
Cheka Man
July 8, 2006, 20:48
BUMP-one of my favourite entries.
Voted Iain
July 14, 2006, 11:12
I missed this one when it was posted. Very nice.
April 13, 2007, 15:40
A city like Lazhkmazhon would be likely to have a large seasonal population, the "Summer People", who would maintain two residences. In the warm months, they would live and work in the mountain city, then when the autumn winds called to them, they would travel to the lowlands to pass the winter.
Voted Ancient Gamer
July 14, 2007, 17:02
Quality writing and imagination!
Voted Moonlake
June 11, 2013, 23:08
Good write-up of the place and the Eternal Night although I too was wondering abt some of the things raised by Manfred
*Commented on for the Commenting Challenge
Voted valadaar
June 30, 2015, 13:02
I like the feel of this place - it even calls to mind some of the Game of Thrones locales, though the inhabitants are far more hospitable. I see this area being a critical pass between populous regions.

A good place to stage a murder mystery, plague, Alienseque monster invasion, etc.

Link Backs


Random Idea Seed View All Idea Seeds

       By: Almar

While setting up camp for the night, the PC's are aproached by another group of adventurers who seem nice enough. The road is somewhat dangerous and the other group suggests camping together. The two bands split watches, one adventurer from each group watching at once. The night goes by without incident, the next day the PC's travel with the other group as they are going the same way.

The group consists of Hordel the ranger, who is skilled with the bow. Hordel is a quiet man who speaks little but appears quite skilled. Dremar is a barbarian who is a little excentric, he seems to be an excasive drinker and thiunk that battle is the solution to everything. He appears to be a stout and powerful fighter with his greataxe. Ferrin is the leader of the group, a rouge by trade. He is daft and witty, speaking with the PCs often and asking many questions. He fights with finesse with his rapier. Preminitat as a cleric but he will not say which god he worships. He uses his spells to empower and heal his party and fights with a club. He sticks close to Ferrin. Ferrin is a great talker and tells much of himself and his party, but asks even more about the history and capabilities of the PCs. He tells of some adventures his party has had, and they seem like an interesting group of mercenaries. Hordel is quite and has little interest in speaking with the PCs, he ignores most questions. He spends a lot of time with Dremar and sometimes Ferrin. Dremar seems to not care about any questions ansked to him, nor does he seem to know the answers. He seems battle hardened and is a simple man. Preminitat rarely starts conversations but will speak with the PCs. However, some of his accounts of the party's history seem to condradict those of Ferrin.

The Party spends another night and day with Ferrin's group. One of four things can happen on the third night.
1: While eating dinner around the fire, Ferrin gets into an argument with one of the PCs when he/she mentions the discepincies between Ferrin's stories and Preminitat's.
2: Hordel gets mad after repeated questioning about his life from the PCs.
3. Preminitat gets mad after repeated questioning from the PCs about what god he worships.
4: One of the PCs rejects the offer of a drink from Dremar and he takes it as an insult.
All of these scenarios result in a battle between the parties. If Ferrin's party is defeated and still lives he swears vengance. His party may then cross paths with the adventurers again.

Encounter  ( Locations ) | November 15, 2003 | View | UpVote 0xp

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